I ran past Gertrude’s house last evening and she was in the garden digging a hole – looking for a mole or planting a tree I do not know. I slowed and shouted out a fake surprised hello.
“Fuck off!” She screamed, dropping the shovel and lolloping as only a 90 year-old can towards her swastikery wall. I sped up again. I doubt she recognised me out of my work clothing. I’m never going to get in that house at this rate. I completed that run at an average pace 6:21/mile but before I saw Gertrude I was hovering around 6min/mile. She really put me off my stride. Got a race coming up on Sunday so my pace – or lack of – was disheartening. I’m pretty disheartened.
I was still sore about Enrique trying to steal my idea but what can you do? The guy’s got no self-awareness. This morning because the weather is nice he tells me to make sure the ice-cream fridge is stocked with Twisters and Maxibons. They’re the ones that go first. Five minutes later I went into his office. “Enrique?”
“I’m thinking I should stock up the ice-cream fridge. Because of the nice weather. Bust out the Twisters and Maxibons.” My face was the epitome of seriousness.
Enrique leant back on his chair, pondered my suggestion and eventually said, “h’okay!” Enrique is so fucking simple he didn’t understand what I was doing. I’d wanted him to become agitated and twitchy and say, ‘I tell you to do dat,’ and then I could reply, ‘DO YOU SEE?’ That’s what I wanted to say more than anything. I wanted to say to Enrique’s uncomprehending face, ‘DO YOU SEE?’ He didn’t see. He would never see. I’d planned to repeat his orders all day but he didn’t give me another one.
Later I went into his office. “Enrique?”
“I’m putting your rent up.” This got his attention. Instead of leaning back he leant forward.
“For real?” He asked.
“Nah,” I closed the door, he pays a crazy amount of money already. If I put his rent up it’d take it over the £250 a week threshold and that would entitle him to running water. Fuck that. He uses the outside tap and a bucket.
Unable to exact revenge upon him I became disheartenededer. And then, just when I was at my lowest ebb the Gods stepped in to pull me back from the brink, and not just that, they also lifted me up. A rep for some shit had been in with Enrique. They were in his office for an hour doing God knows what. When the rep was leaving Enrique followed him to the door, right in front of the counter. Right in front of me. It was like some kind of fate.
The rep was carrying a briefcase in one hand and he also must’ve had his car keys in the same hand. I was watching, I saw all this clearly. The rep went to swap his car keys from the hand that was also carrying the briefcase to his free hand but Enrique misread this hand movement for the offer of a handshake and he put his hand out!! The rep couldn’t shake his hand because now both the rep’s hands were holding something so the rep went all flustered and started to rearrange the things he was carrying. He tried to get his keys back into the briefcase hand but he dropped his keys and they made a big jangle when they hit the floor! I was right there. The rep thought about picking up his keys, actually went halfway down, but Enrique was still stood there with his hand out. It was fucking beautiful. The smile that was initially genuine was now a grimace on the man from Bogotá’s face. The rep did a fake laugh and shook Enrique’s hand then picked up is keys. Jesus Christ, it was the most embarrassing spectacle I ever witnessed.
The rep left with his composure in tatters. Enrique rolled his head around his neck, nodded then looked at me.
“Nice handshake, dickhead,” I said.
Enrique rubbed his nose and returned to his office.